Watching Shady tell her story was not so worrisome as seeing her retell it from her blog. I've no doubt she'll read this when she wakes again, but I hope seeing the words written, rather than hearing them will prevent her from viewing it as a confrontation. Shady... I'm worried for you. It's what friends and family do. Please don't take offense.
Reading her interaction with "the Other" is my primary concern, or rather the times in her posts where its words seem to come through independent of her own thoughts. I wonder is it some kind of proxy? A split personality? It doesn't seem to have much concern for anyone, and Shady only peripherally. Is it really protecting her, or is it protecting itself? I wonder if It did something when It first appeared that would drive Shady to cast It out once and for all if she knew.
I trust It to protect Shady only in so far as it needs a body. It's Shady who seeks to protect everyone around her, not this thing that guards her lost memories. I wonder how it will react as she takes back more of those memories. Aggressively? Lashing out at those around her, at herself? I can defend myself... growing up in an abusive household gives me a leg up in that arena. I'm more worried the Other will drive Shady to hurt herself.
I'm more worried about the Other than I am Mr Sunshine. He seems more lost than malicious. If nothing else, my childhood taught me that it's easy to lash out at others when you're completely alone, jealous and angry at being excluded. Hopefully that's all his violence against Shady was... anger at being forgotten. I hope he's at least smart enough to realize that his being chained up is only temporary until we can gauge how he'll interact with us. I took some blankets down the first night and found Shady asleep with Sunshine practically in her lap like a big child. It was cute and disturbing at the same time. He might be dangerous, but so is a big dog when its excited. Despite what I saw him do to Shady's doppelganger... I don't think he's a monster. He's just... broken. Like the rest of us, each in our own way.
The mansion isn't as bad off as Shady makes it out to be, though I'm equally certain that anyone who wandered inside would agree with her and back out slowly in fear that an errant breeze might bring the ceiling down. There's a foundation of rock under most of the first floor, the exception being the root cellar where we have Sunshine. I hope we won't have to keep him down there long. It's damp and not fit for habitation (though most people would apply that sentiment to the entire place).
There's a massive fire place that is more or less intact, though the half of the chimney that remains leans a bit, resting against the nearest of two trees. I can look up the shaft and see the sky, so at least it's not blocked. I'm not too familiar with construction or chimneys in general, but I imagine it would probably be a good idea to climb up and install a screen at the top to at least keep out any small animals. I'll have to find the local library soon and see if they have any information on chimney construction.
Right now, the fireplace serves my needs nicely as a stove and a heat source. There's the remains of the old pump in the back which seems to have bubbled up into a real spring at some point. It's a bit swampy, but I'll dig it out into a real pond as a water source and for washing. There's also an old kitchen and herb garden which has grown beyond all measure of control. For just myself and Sunshine, there's more than enough food there, especially as I trim it back and bring it under control, a task that could take me a year or more. Sunshine doesn't seem to mind the greenery I've brought him to eat so far.
He stands or sits in brooding silence when I crawl down the broken floor to his prison, but he doesn't make a move in my direction. I talk to him in a conversational tone, putting the bowl near enough for him to reach without getting close enough for him to grab me. I found a teddy bear at a yard sale, and I've been making a new protective ward for my niece, sitting on a beam in a shaft of light and talking to him. He doesn't make a sound or move while I'm there, frozen like a deer waiting for me to make a threatening move in his direction. I can't read his expression behind his mask. I wish Shady had thrown it away. If we want to break him of being a proxy, shouldn't we get rid of the biggest reminder? While I'm down there, he won't touch his food, but it's always gone when I come back.
Despite Shady's outburst about not expecting her to work on the place, she was full of ideas on how to fix it up. She's more worried about it falling on my head than I am. The place has been taken over by nature spirits. And while they were content to slowly reacquire the place before I came, they're equally agreeable to preserving what's left while I stay. I'm not worried about the stability of the place like Shady is. I wouldn't go climbing to what's left of the third floor, but I won't be afraid to sleep on the second once the summer heat becomes unbearable.
The mansion is very old, colonial I'd say. The foundation is entirely of stone and most of the walls. They knew how to build back in the day. Stone is harder to "talk" to than plants and animals, but the impression I get from them is that they will not fall any time soon and that's good enough for me, "soon" being years with regards to the slow sentience of a rock. The wooden beams that hold up the second floor are massive and despite staghorn and other ferns and moss that grow down from them, they are still quite solid. Some of the boards attached to them might need to be replaced, but I am comfortable here. I feel safe here. If there are any ghosts, they're keeping a low profile. If Slendy and friends come around, I'll be forewarned by the nature spirits running away.
I was thinking of hanging plastic up in the few gaps in the walls to keep bad weather out and heat in come winter, but Shady is talking about lumber and sheet metal and solar panels.... I don't know anything about these things. Her father's in construction, so I'll take her word for it that these things are necessary. I'd be content to set up a hammock and leave everything as close to how I found it as possible, but I understand her concerns. I can't expect other people to come here and feel safe if they think the "roof" is going to fall on their heads the next time we have a tornado warning.